Happy New Year!

Today we celebrate the beginning of the Hindu Year of Jaya, 5115, the year of Victory. Sadhu Paksha ended yesterday for the monks and this morning, monks and local devotees paraded out to the flagpole. The coral pink flag of the Moksha Ritau was replaced with the bright orange flag of the Nartana Ritau.

Nartana Ritau, the season of Dancing with Siva, begins on Tamil New Year. This is the period of creation, the warm season, from mid-April through mid-August. The key word of this season is planning. The colors are orange, yellow-gold and all shades of green–orange for renunciation, yellow-gold for action, and green for regeneration.

High above, the main Hindu flag flies the color orange, heralding the Nartana Ritau throughout this season, symbolizing sadhana and self-control. The other colors adorn smaller flags. This is the season of giving special attention to those in the grihastha ashrama. It is a time of awakening, renewal, review. The emphasis is on seeing ahead, planning for future years. It is a time of planning retreats and other activities for youths and adults for the entire year. During this time of looking forward, the Church's six-year plan is updated by the Guru Mahasannidhanam and stewards and another year added.

The Saiva Dharma Shastras are studied; and any needed additions in supplementary manuals, representing new growth, are made. The practical focus is completion of unfinished projects. Secular holidays to observe among the families include Mother's Day in May, Father's Day in June and Grandparent's Day in August.

This season of harvest and new growth is also the time to review and reestablish picking and planting routines for the gardens. It is a time for ordering seeds and plants for the year, of planting trees, fragrant vines and the annual crop. Review is made for scheduling the care of all nine realms of the Aadheenam's acreage. Kadavul temple and the Guru Temple are cleaned and renewed during this season, and the adjacent grounds receive special, abundant attention. Karma yogis are invited to help in this and other areas with planting and weeding, digging, fertilizing, fence repair and more.

The daily sadhana is the Sivachaitanya Panchatantra: experiencing nada, jyoti, prana, bhakti and darshana. In Sanskrit, it is a time of learning new slokas and mantras. In the family community, prasnottara satsanga is held for one and all to attend. Families plan for their annual pilgrimage. Shrine rooms are renewed and redecorated for the year, and the clothing of all is renewed in the Hindu style of the current fashion. It is a time of doing things for others, religious outreach. It is a time of hatha yoga and philosophical teaching.

Flowers in Our Garden

Today we offer some photographs of a few of the beautiful flowers blooming in our Gardens. As Orchids are the most diverse species of flower, they offer a beautiful array of variation throughout the year.

"The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures. It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers." Rabindranath Tagore

A Short Journey to Toronto

A few days ago, Satguru Bodhinatha and Sannyasin Yoginathaswami, left for a week-long trip to Toronto, Canada. There, the two are spending time with church members and visiting local temples.

Creating New Garden Beds

Over the past few weeks the Siddhidata Kulam has been working to create forms for the twelve new garden beds which are being added to the monastery's vegetable garden. The wooden forms are almost finished, which will allow for one big cement pour. Making it all happen in just one pour will allow a truck load to be ordered, saving the kulam countless hours of hand-mixing cement. Once the beds are finished, they'll have the potential of increasing the garden's production by roughly 20% or 30%.

Wooden Sculptures Arrive

In a magical and mystical intersection of events, Gurudeva's wooden sculpture ended a 3-month journey from India yesterday, arriving at the monastery on Yogaswami's 50th Mahasamadhi anniversary. What are the chances?
Actually, two wooden masterpieces arrived. Their story begins about two years ago, when Bhani Karthigesu of Singapore heard about the renovation of the Media Studio and offered to have some wooden work done for it. That evolved into having Ganapati and Gurudeva carved in north India in the traditionally style. There were delays when the craftsman's family fell ill, but those delays were required to make today happen so magically.
These sculptures will adorn the entry cave of the Media Studio, the first thing visitors will encounter upon entering, Ganesha on the left wall and Gurudeva on the right, gracing the visitor's arrival.
The monks instructed the artist to carve Ganesha in His pose of writing the sacred texts. After all, this is the building from which all of the monastery's writings, books and magazine and art, have taken birth, and it will be the space where that continues for another 1000 years as the monks fulfill Gurudeva's commission and command.
The art on these two wooden sculptures is remarkably detailed, and several monks have commented that the Ganesha especially may well be the best ever seen of this form of sacred art. Thank you, Bhani, and all who have helped with this marvelous project. Not too many days now before the floor will be installed and the monks will move back into the new space. 

Archives are now available through 2001. Light colored days have no posts. 1998-2001 coming later.

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